Monday, April 12, 2004

HOW TO FIX THE SECURITY PROBLEM: I nag and whine a lot. But that doesn't mean I don't have any suggestions on how to fix the things that are, well, broken. So here goes.

Whatever threat they pose, I don't think the Taliban--Islamic militants who operate in the south and cross the border from Pakistan into Afghanistan--are a problem. Coalition troops are doing a pretty good job at disrupting and destroying the Taliban.

There is, however, another problem that plagues Afghanistan and that is warlordism. Warlords all over the country continue to run their own mini-fiefdoms outside of Kabul. The United States needs to pursue a long term-policy of wiping out taking out warlords and establishing local representatives who are loyal and aligned to the government in Kabul. Scum like Dostum, Sayyaf and Ismail Khan have been around too long to be swiftly eradicated, but that doesn't mean it is not possible. It most certainly is. In the short-term, we can force them to disarm and pay taxes to Kabul.

A couple of things need to take place before that can eradication can become reality. The Germans need to train the Afghan police forces better. The Americans need to train more Afghan soldiers. The Afghan National Army's 8000-or-so soldiers are already preemptively searching for Taliban fighters in the southeastern parts of Afghanistan; they are also being dispatched to troubled cities and places like Herat, Mazer-e-Sharif and the province of Faryad. The militia-disarmament was started a few months back in Kunduz and unfortunately, it hasn't moved far beyond that city.

The Americans may be leading the effort, but that does not mean Europe can watch from the sidelines. NATO has to add more troops to the International Security Assistance Force. American soldiers should be eliminating remnants of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, while NATO has to be responsible for overall security in Afghanistan.

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